by Mandy Green, Head Women’s Soccer Coach at The University of South Dakota
We all know that recruiting is a 365 day-a-year-beast. You could easily spend 40+ hours a week just watching practices, making recruiting phone calls, sending texts, emailing, on-campus visits, watching video, having staff meetings, etc. On top of your recruiting responsibilities, you also have to manage, train, and develop your current team. Some of you also have to teach classes or have additional administrative responsibilities. It’s a lot.
The demand for our time as a coach is increasingly exceeding our capacity — draining us of the energy we need to bring our skill and talent fully to life. The rise of digital technology is perhaps the biggest influence, exposing us to an unprecedented flood of information and requests that we feel compelled to read and respond to at all hours of the day and night.
Just like our athletes, with overtraining and overworking we wear down, burnout, and become ineffective. The reality is that we will become flat liners mentally and emotionally when we relentlessly spend energy without sufficient recovery. Unless we incorporate more rest and recovery into our work regimen, we will slowly wear down and become ineffective as coaches and as recruiters.
Sadly, the need for recovery is often viewed as a sign of weakness rather than an integral aspect of growth and sustained performance in our society. As coaches, our entrenched, puritanical conditioning of being valued on how hard we work, our fear of being left behind or replaced, and our addiction to always being busy are actually not only destroying our mental and physical health but also destroying our creative productivity.
To avoid burning out and to prolong your life as a coach, you need to add more rest and recovery into your workday. To consistently produce high quality work and get the results you need daily, all throughout the week, and throughout the year, I highly suggest you find a way to implement taking time off into your productivity strategy.
Here are 3 things I did to incorporate “rejuvenation time” into my schedule.
Since I was struggling to take time off, I first had to get over my belief that: working = good and not working = slacker. I just made a conscious effort to think positively of this time that I was taking off and kept telling myself that this was “rejuvenation time”. I kept telling myself that this time away from coaching and recruiting was going to refresh my mind and body which in turn was going to make me a better coach and recruiter.
Office Renewal: Take mini-breaks
Small, frequent breaks are a great way to refresh and recharge. It’s been proven in many studies that workers who take short 10-15 minute breaks every 90 minutes report a 30 percent higher level of focus than those who take no breaks or just one during the day. They also report a nearly 50 percent greater capacity to think creatively and a 46 percent higher level of health and well-being. The more hours people work beyond 40 — and the more continuously they work — the worse they feel, and the less engaged they become.
Sitting at your computer for long periods will lead to sleepiness and sluggishness, so get up periodically, stretch, take deep breaths, and move around. I recommend setting a timer that goes off every 60-90 minutes. Every time the timer rings, stand up before you turn it off. And once you are standing, get moving. Get up to go to the bathroom, go refill your water bottle, take a quick lap around the building, plan to run an errand or 2 during this time, get up to stretch your leg and back, or walk around and talk to your coaching colleagues for a moments…just do something that refreshes you for just a few minutes. You will be amazed at how much more energy and focus you have just by taking a few short mini-breaks throughout the day.
By taking 5-10 minute short breaks every 60-90 minutes throughout the day, I have noticed that I am not getting as tired at the end of the day as I used to and I still have energy when I get home. I am working less hours but getting more done and it is much higher quality than I have ever done before.
At Home Renewal: Plan 2 hours of free time EVERY NIGHT!
When you get home from the office, schedule 2 hours where your phone is in another room, you put work away, and you take yourself off of the coaching and recruiting grid to recharge.
I suggest planning something fun that will engage your heart and mind so you are not bored and tempted to get sucked back into your working addiction. Plan fun things to do with your family or friends. Workout. Go for a walk outside. Read a book. Watch a movie. Go play golf. Or whatever it is that you deem your recovery time.
When I started scheduling 2 hours every night that I couldn’t work, I found myself working more urgently during the day to get things finished up. I also quickly found that by resting my mind and body daily, that when it was time to get back to work, I was more energized and focused so was able to produce higher quality work.
I think that a big key to not burning out as a coach is to not let burnout sneak up on you. Schedule regular short breaks during the day and get off the grid for 2 hours every night will help to make sure that won’t happen.
I have been pretty religious about doing these things for more than a year now. I had to do it because I was exhausted. Honestly, with the massive amount of work I had to take on taking over the program I did with only 2 part-time assistants, and having 2 kids within my first two years, I was pretty overwhelmed. Adding more time for energy and mental renewal has kept me coaching. I have more ideas for other things that you can do for mental and physical renewal on my website at www.mandygreencps.com.
Can I have 60 Seconds of your time? Please click here to take the College Coach Productivity Survey. To thank you for helping me out, I will email you my 11 Time Management Mistakes That College Coaches Make Free Report! I really appreciate your help.
Mandy Green is the creator of Coaching Productivity Strategies and is the author of The Green Time Management Workbook and Planner for College Coaches, a complete blueprint to helping you take control of your day with research of proven time and energy management methods that you can apply in your career, to recruiting, and to your personal life. For more advice on how to manage and organize your day and recruiting, please visit www.mandygreencps.com.